You have been mountain biking for a little while now and starting to develop some skills. Now it is time to put together your inventory of mountain biking essentials. In this post I am going to break down all the things you need to make your mountain biking more fun, less hassle and safer.
There is a lot to accumulate, so this stuff will probably take a long time to put together. As you probably know by now, mountain biking isn’t a cheap sport. But, there are some great discounts online. Click here for some great mountain biking discounts, from bikes to clothing.
Mountain Biking Essentials for Your Backpack
Wearing a backpack while mountain biking is a really good idea, especially if you are going out all day. A proper mountain biking backpack has lots of features specific to mountain biking. These range from back protection to helmet carriers to durable materials.
So what mountain biking essentials do you need to carry with you in your backpack while out on a ride?
I am not suggesting that you carry a whole toolkit with you, but there are a few things that can make the difference between pushing your bike home and riding home.
A great tool that has got me out of a few scrapes, is my multitool.
I use the Crankbrothers 19 function multitool. It is a well priced multitool that is very versatile. It has a built in chain tool, which is very useful for both at home and on the trail. This multitool comes in a nice smooth cover, with means it won’t snag on anything in your backpack. For something that is so inexpensive, a multitool will allow you to carry out most trail side repairs and definitely a mountain biking essential.
Punctures are a reality for a lot of riders. Even if you are riding with a tubeless set up, it is a good idea to carry an inner tube. This is because, no amount of tyre sealant will seal a rip in your sidewall. Personally, I haven’t had a puncture since I went tubeless, but I like to be prepared. Therefore, I carry a mini pump, tyre levers and a spare tube in my backpack.
Food and Drink
If you are hungry or thirsty during a ride, you are going to run out of energy. This is really not pleasant, and you are out on a ride to enjoy yourself. Therefore, you need to make sure you can fuel yourself properly.
I always carry water with me, either in a water bottle or hydration pack. Good mountain bike backpacks will have a place to stow water. Hydration packs are great, as you don’t need to stop to get a bottle out of your bag.
If you don’t want a full sized backpack, you can buy lightweight hydration packs. These usually have a number of small pockets, but their main purpose is to carry water.
If I haven’t eaten for ten minutes, I get the hanger. Therefore, when out on a ride, snacks are one of my mountain biking essentials to keep me going until lunchtime.
I find that snacks that don’t crumble up in your backpack are good mountain biking snacks. I like to carry various products from Clif Bar. They have a great variety pack of 12 peanut butter and Chocolate Chip bars that are worth checking out.
Some mountain bikers like to carry energy gels with them. These are designed to get carbohydrates to your muscles quickly. The benefit of these is, that you don’t need to mix them with water. Therefore, the energy gets delivered to your body without you feeling bloated. However, I don’t advise you to use these on long rides without letting your body get used to them. This is because it may upset your stomach. Therefore, build up by using them on shorter rides first.
Mountain Biking Essentials for Your Home
Mountain biking is punishing for your bike, therefore, you need to look after it. There are a few mountain biking essentials you should have at home to keep your bike running smoothly.
You should have some tools at home that will allow you to maintain your bike. Which tools you have, depends on how much work you want to do on your bike yourself.
There is a huge range of tools and tool kits you can buy to cover all manner of maintenance tasks, from simple fixes to full rebuilds. I would say that for certain jobs, taking your bike to a bike shop is a better use of your time and money. However, there are many jobs you can do yourself. This will save you money, and it will let you understand how your bike works.
The X-Tools bike kit allows you to do most minor repairs at home. It has a good selection of well-made tools in a solid plastic case. It is not the most comprehensive of kits, but that means that it is portable. You can chuck it in the car when you go to the trail centre and carry out any repairs needed to keep you going all day.
A bike stand makes life a lot easier to do many tasks. These include, indexing gears, working on brakes, bottom brackets and derailleurs. When choosing a bike stand, make sure you have all the adjustment possible. By this I mean, height and clamp rotation. A bike stands should also be pretty sturdy, as you really don’t want it falling over while you are working on your bike.
The Parktool Home Mechanic Repair Stand is probably the best out there right now. I am a big fan of Parktool’s stuff, as it is really well-made. It has all the necessary adjustments you need and it is very sturdy. The clamp’s design makes this stand great for bikes with odd shaped tubing. This is a great addition to the home mechanic’s garage or workshop
Loking after your bike isn’t just about fixing problems, it is also about preventing them. The main way of preventing problems, is to clean your bike properly. There are a few steps and things you need to clean your bike effectively, click here to see how to do this.
I live in an apartment, and my garage (where I keep my bikes) doesn’t have a water supply. Therefore, I use a Kärcher OC3 cordless pressure washer to clean my bike. Click here to see my review, but it is very useful, and it is portable enough to put in the car.
Track pumps are the best bike pumps to keep in the garage or car. Their large volume and ergonomics make them fast and easy to pump up your tyres. If you are converting your tyres to tubeless, these are the bare minimum you need to get the required volume of air in to the tyre.
They are too big to stuff in your back pack, so you will also want a mini pump.
Some mountain bikers may have an issue with storing their bikes at home. But, having somewhere safe to put your bike is essential. This is to protect your bike and other belongings from damage. There are lots of different solutions to suit most rider’s needs, from wall mounted racks to bike stands.
Mountain Biking Essentials – Clothing
Wearing the correct clothing for whatever activity you are doing will mean you are comfortable and unrestricted. This goes for mountain biking too. You may be tempted to just wear an old cotton t-shirt for your rides. But purpose made clothing is one of those mountain biking essentials.
This also goes for shorts, proper mountain bike shorts stretch in the right places and are made of durable, moisture wicking materials.
Dressing for the conditions is essential. If you sign up to the MTB-Threads newsletter, you will get a series of free eBooks. One of these books is a guide to winter mountain biking. It covers everything from bike set up to choosing the correct clothing. You may want to check out my guide to choosing the correct mountain bike jacket for you.
Mountain Biking Essentials – Protection
Mountain biking is a dangerous sport, but we can manage the risk with the right amount of protection. The most important of the mountain bike essentials is the helmet. The type of riding you are doing will determine the type of helmet you choose to wear.
Elbow and knee pads are not seen as mountain biking essentials by all riders. However, my knee and elbow pads have certainly prevented some serious injuries. Also, a little more protection will give you a bit more confidence. This is great when it comes to developing your skills, as you are more likely push yourself with some added protection.
Mountain Biking Essentials for Night Time Riding
Whether you are using your bike for commuting or riding the trails at night, lights are essential. They are also a good thing to have in you backpack for when you go out on your bike all day. This is because, you may encounter a problem that will delay you, you may have to ride home in the dark. There are a lot of different bike lights to choose from, so if you are looking for some, check out my guide to the best mountain bike lights.